ABS (Anti Lock Braking System) Explained

The term ABS has been coming up quite often in the recent Indian biking scene. TVS has launched the ABS version of its flagship model Apache RTR for Rs.10,000 extra and the CBR250R from Honda is also going to feature an optional ABS system at Rs.20,000 extra. Many of you know what ABS is and its benefits. But those who aren’t aware of it… read on.

ABS or Anti Lock Braking System; as the name suggests prevents the wheels from locking while braking. During emergency situations when you brake hard, the wheels lock and the vehicle becomes unstable. Because the wheel is not rotating, the vehicle is just skidding along the road surface and the behavior of the bike/car is completely unpredictable. Also the treads in the tyre are damaged.

I remember my dad used to do ABS in his 1987 RE Bullet. Don’t be shocked, it did not have an ABS. What I said is my dad used to ‘do ABS’! Which means he followed the process manually while braking the bike. During emergency situations, he would hold and release the brake alternatively so that the bike doesn’t skid.

One day while my dad was riding, a cycle appeared from nowhere in his path. And he was able to brake without losing control of the bike. It was very obvious that he did it – because I could see the tyre marks on the road like a broken line ( – – – – ). It takes a lot of maturity to focus on such alternative braking during adrenaline-rushing situations like that. I couldn’t do that myself. 

The actual ABS system does the same process like my dad does, but so much faster than him. It holds and releases the brake several times within a second. The following video illustrates how ABS works in a car.

ABS in cars basically helps in not losing the steering control of the car while slowing down – as shown in the above video. ABS was first introduced in cars only. ABS in bikes helps in a little different manner due to the nature of 2 wheels. The following video clearly illustrates how a bike with and without ABS behaves… especially in slippery road conditions.

For those who really want to have ABS in their non-ABS bikes, ABS kits are available in the market. Though I wouldn’t recommend it because I prefer only company fitted ABS and have never had a first hand report about the effectiveness and reliability of the ABS kits in the market.

What do you think about ABS? Let me know…

Deepak Raj